No shortage of road and bridge projects to jump-start economy
If the economy needs a shot in the arm, there are loads of road and bridge projects on the drawing board, according to a recent survey of state departments of transportation.
“President-elect Barrack Obama is pledging to put millions of Americans to work by building and repairing the nation’s highways and bridges, and a new survey of state ‘ready-to-go’ transportation projects is the road map he needs to make it happen,” said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
A December AASHTO survey of state departments of transportation identified more than 5,000 transportation infrastructure projects worth $64 billion. These projects are ready to move off the drawing board, and are considered “ready to go” because they could be under contract within 180 days.
The infrastructure projects, according to AASHTO calculations, could support an estimated 1.8 million U.S. jobs, if the funding were made available.
Texas leads all states that provided project numbers, with 853 “ready-to-go” transportation projects. Two states — Georgia and Pennsylvania — had more than 300 projects ready to start; both had 319 projects in this category. Four states — Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina — had between 200 and 300 projects ready to start.
The District of Columbia and all 50 state departments of transportation responded to the survey. Some state officials, however, declined to provide numbers of specific projects in their states. California, Delaware, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio fall into that category.
In value of highway projects that are ready to start, Utah led all states. The value of its projects equaled $10.8 billion. Florida and Texas came in second and third, respectively, in value of projects, with Florida reporting projects worth almost $7 billion, and Texas with projects worth more than $6 billion.
According to some estimates, the value of public works construction in 2009 could reach almost $110 billion, with highway and bridge spending accounting for almost half of this amount.